Sixteen months ago, our house was burglarized and our dog Atticus fled the scene. It was an excruciating search that ended happily after 4+ days, when a homeowner on Delwood Drive phoned to let us know he thought he'd seen Atticus near his home. The reunion was awesome, and we're forever grateful to everyone who helped in his search, everyone who prayed, and everyone who helped bring him home.
That gave us sixteen more months with him. We thought it would be more. After all, Atticus was only seven years old. But the life he loved so much was suddenly and shockingly taken from him on Saturday, when he succumbed to a heart arrhythmia. He'd never had health problems, always passed his check-ups with flying colors. (Usual vet advice: maybe a few less treats). But without the love of our community, these past months might never have happened for us, or for him. So from the bottom of our family's hearts, thank you.
For now, we are a home without pets -- and for me, for the first time in more than 20 years. It will be temporary, but I'm just not sure when the time will come to get another dog. You see, Atticus was about as good a dog as you find. His worst habit was to sneak up on the couch while we were gone, and occasionally get busted for it.
But we could let him out in the yard without a lead or a leash, and he wouldn't go anywhere. We could leave our food out, and he wouldn't eat it. He did chew up a piece of the furniture when he was younger, but that's what young dogs do. (Best text I received in my life: "Atticus ate the couch.")
We don't expect such near perfection with another dog, and we assume some preparation will be in order. We only know this: Atticus was a shelter pet, and we will again adopt a shelter pet. Someday....
When my parents lost their dog Bailey about eight years ago, they called to tell me about their loss. And their plans: "We're not getting another dog for awhile, we can't go through that loss again." Fast forward to one week later: "The house was just so quiet." And that's how they got Heidi, who is not nearly so well-behaved as her predecessor, but they wouldn't have had it any other way.
So you never know what's next, or who's next to add joy to your life -- and you to theirs.